Lau launches Nomads Rose Bowl title defence in KZN
Royal Durban Country Club may have been bathed in sun for much of the day, but the conditions belied the severity of gusts that proved hugely challenging for the juniors competing in the first two rounds of the Nomads SA Girl’s Rose Bowl Championship on Monday.
Defending champion Catherine Lau carded rounds of 78 and 81 to come out on top and holds a one stroke lead on 13 over 159.
Gauteng pair Chiara Contomathios and Cara Ford tied for second with local player Chloe Royston from Cotsworld Downs, while Boland junior Crystal Beukes finished a further shot adrift.
Former champion Contomathios eagled the par five fifth on her way to a first round 79 and returned an 81 in the second round. Ford signed for 79 and 82, Royston went around in 81 and 79 and Beukes registered rounds of 79 and 82.
Gauteng’s Kajal Mistry arrived home this weekend after helping South Africa to a 61 shot victory in the All-Africa Junior Golf Championship in Zimbabwe on Friday.
Having set two course records during the championship at Royal Harare Golf Club, the country’s top ranked senior and junior certainly didn’t expect to find herself in a tie for sixth on 16 with Caitlyn Macnab from Ekurhuleni.
“I think we were all a bit shell-shocked, but the wind blew a gale when we arrived this morning, so we knew we were in for a tough day,” said the Randpark golfer.
“Royal Durban has no protection; it’s wide open and there is nothing to block the wind. Playing into a four-club wind on this kind of course is tough, though. I had to hit a six-iron from 100 metres and a full three-wood from 130 to 140 metres. Sometimes I still came up short, like at 16 in the first round. I had 148 metres to the pin and I hit a full three-wood and finished five metres short of the green.
“The course is in really good condition, but you didn’t dare to go for the pins. The greens are so slick and the wind made it even tougher. The bogeys added up very quickly. Best course of action was to play to the safest side of the greens and take your chances from there.
“In a way, the conditions today was a good thing, too. If you want to make a career of this sport, you have to play in any conditions. It’s not going to be sunny all the time, so playing in this tough wind was a good learning curve.”
Womens Golf South Africa President Karen Olivant said the wind certainly gave the organisers cause for concern.
“The gale force conditions were tough on the juniors and we had to monitor the wind closely all day so that we could suspend play if the balls started moving,” Olivant said. “I was incredibly impressed with the players. They just got on with it and played the two rounds without a single complaint.
“The leaderboard is very tight and hopefully the wind will give the players a break in Tuesday’s final round and we will have an exciting finish to this year’s championship.”
Elham Shaik made the most of her home course advantage to edge out fellow Royal Durban player for the lead in the B-Division and Kamaya Moodliar from Umhlali tops the leaderboard in the C-Division.
Shaik carded rounds of 88 and 91 to take a six stroke lead on 179, while Moodliar leads by three points from Mikah Poonawassy from Northern Cape.
First Round Scores (top 10)
159 Catherine Lau 78 81
160 Chloe Royston 81 79; Chiara Contomathios 79 81; Cara Ford 78 82
161 Crystal Beukes 79 82
162 Kajal Mistry 80 82; Kaiyuree Moodley 80 82; Caitlyn Macnab 78 84
164 Woo-Ju Son 85 79
165 Brittney-Fay Berger 83 82; Chante Van Zyl 81 84
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of GolfRSA, a SAGA and WGSA Not-For-Profit company.